In this week’s edition of the week in WikiLeaks press, US State Department cables showed how South Africa allowed Madagascar’s president to circumvent customs by picking up anti-riot munitions in his personal airplane during the 2009 uprisings. Ten years on, Guantánamo Bay remains open, and open questions around detainee rights and futures remain. US State Department cables also illuminate US-funded NGOs in Egypt. Cables also expose the Philippines’ banking secrecy laws, among the strictest in the world.
Pentagon charges former U.S. resident in terror plot: After nine years of imprisonment, the Pentagon has announced charges against Guantanamo resident Majid Khan. The last known photos of Majid Khan shown in WikiLeaks’ Gitmo files show a marked difference to the clean shaved diploma holding graduate prior to his detainment. The charge sheet states that he conspired with confessed 9/11 attack planner Khalid Sheik Mohammed to blow up gasoline stations on US soil. Khan stated his innocence in a letter to the New York civil liberties firm, “I ask you to give me justice (…) in the name of what USA once stood for and in the name of what Thomas Jefferson fought for (…) allow me a chance to prove that I am innocent.”
Second decade behind bars, with no charge: Shaker Aamer, a current resident at Guantanamo is spending his second decade behind bars, despite being promised release five years ago. His lawyer Cori Crider believes the only reason he has not been released earlier is because he has been vocal about his imprisonment and may pose as an embarrassment for the US administration. WikiLeaks cables state that he is accused of being an accomplice to Osama Bin Laden and doing his work in Europe, but fail to accompany any supporting evidence.
Guantanamo Ten Years Later: “It’s a Disgrace,” Says Expert Andy Worthington: In an interview with Andy Worthington, an investigative journalist and Guantanamo expert, despite inconsistent evidence obtained against prisoners, “No living prisoner has been released from Guantanamo in the past year.” One of the most significant findings in the WikiLeaks files on Guantanamo, was the release of Mohammed Basadah whom was freed upon incriminating 123 other prisoners.
Veteran in Oscar-Nominated Short Documentary on ‘Collateral Murder’ Incident Receives Death Threats: Ethan McCord, a soldier who provided a first hand account on the collateral murder incident, recieved death threats against himself and his family. “I’m challenging their views, challenging the actions of people and what’s the first thing that’s going to happen? They’re going to get angry” Ethan stated. Ethan describes the enormous toll breaking the silence has had after the screening of the documentary nominated for an academy award.
Weapons and security^
|A man tries to run from gunfire from Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana’s offices in Antananarivo on February 7, 2009. (source)|
South Africa helped Madagascar’s president import riot control weapons before he was overthrown in 2009: In the days before Madagascar’s president Marc Ravalomanana resigned from office amid increasing political unrest in the country, US Ambassador R. Niels Marquardt wrote a cable to the State Department reporting on non-lethal weapons shipments arriving in the country. The Ambassador claimed that sources among airport police confirmed that riot control gear produced in China was being shipped into Madagascar via South Africa, and that shipments were picked up by the president’s personal airplane on at least two occasions, seemingly in order to circumvent customs. Following this revelation, South Africa’s opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has called on the National Conventional Arms Control Committee chairman Jeff Radebe to immediately authorize an investigation into the ad-hock weapons shipments, pointing out that “the riot control gear appears to have been exported to military or paramilitary forces just prior to the coup. There was a high probability that the riot control gear would be used for internal repression.”
China resource dig needs security: With plans to invest 300 million dollars on oil fields located in Afghanistan, concerns are now raised about security post withdrawal of the US military. China has had its economic eye on Afghanistan since 2001 and worked with US to maintain security over its economic prize. According to a WikiLeaks cable, “China has expressed interest in cooperating with the US for delivery of non-lethal aid to Afghanistan” since 2006.
Replaying the Life Presidency Constitutional Coup: A US diplomatic cable describes the plenary session of the Cameroonian parliament on 10 April 2008, at which time the parliament voted in favor of the the life presidency constitutional amendment.
Cameroon Warns U.S. Gov’t Not to Interfere: Minister of External Relations Ayissi cautioned the US ambassador to Cameroon against public commentary disapproving Cameroon’s constitutional revision.
Debt Relief No Guarantee for Development: A year after the 2006 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative alleviating Cameroon from billions in debt, a US embassy cable assesses the country’s poor progress in taking advantage of the initiative to “reduce poverty and generate economic growth.”
US-Egyptian Relations in Crisis: Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Kamal Ganzouri said that US-funded NGOs, along with others are being investigated for violating Egyptian laws, including failure to register and illegally receiving foreign cash. A cable shows that the US paid USD 600 million to organizations and youth movements calling for democracy in Egypt and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) allocated USD 5.66 million in 2008 and US$75 million in 2009 for Egyptian programs aimed at spreading democracy and applying good governance through the funding of human rights organizations, NGOs and youth movements. However, according to another cable dated February 28, 2008, the Egyptian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Faiza Abouelnaga sent a letter to the US embassy asking USAID to stop financing organizations that had not been “properly registered as NGOs.” The US has warned Egypt of a disastrous rupture in ties if Egypt prosecuted US-funded NGO’s, and also threatened to cut USD 3.1 billion in military aid to Egypt.
More cables describe US plans for economic funding of Egypt NGOs: An April 2009 cable from US Secretary of State Clinton requests that the US ambassador to Egypt discuss key points regarding US economic funding of Egyptian NGOs. The cable notes that only NGOs approved by the Egyptian government will be able to receive funding. Another cable discusses the economic assistance program in depth, and its benefits for the US in the long term.
U.S. shouldn’t support Egypt’s democracy backers A WikiLeaks cable reveals Egypt’s push for democracy was coerced by the US administration strategically funding groups aligned with its agenda. Margret Scobey, the US ambassador to Egypt wrote, “The money should go to an outside, professional organization such as the National Endowment for Democracy, which has a long-term vision of promoting democracy and would not carry the same political baggage as using ESF (economic support funds)”.
US view on foreign affairs^
WikiLeaks cables: Philippine bank secrecy laws under fire: Cables indicate that the US government has been critical for some time of Philippine laws that interfere with the investigation and prosecution of suspected corrupt government officials. One cable says, “Investigations are hindered by Philippine banking secrecy laws that limit access to certain crucial financial information, and by poor protection for would-be whistleblowers.” One cable told how the Philippine Foreign Currency Deposit Act had prevented the Landbank, a Filipino financial institution, from enforcing a freeze order on the dollar accounts of a former Armed Forces comptroller who had been charged with plunder and corruption. Another cable questioned whether local financial institutions were fully compliant with the Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001. And another cable described how the Philippine Supreme Court had ruled that, except in cases of terrorism, kidnapping, and drug violations, an account holder had to be warned before an investigation could be made into their bank records. This, the cable claims, leaves an opportunity open for destruction of evidence.
A top Sri Lankan Major General is a US informer: Major General Prasad Saraterasinghe, directorate of the media in the army is revealed to be a US informant in a cable regarding Sri Lankan abductions. The military spokesman informed the US that five of the alleged abductions were political retribution against those considered disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration. It was alleged that the Government of Sri Lanka needed to demonstrate concrete examples of progress to appease the international community.
Gazprom’s Empire at the End of the Earth: The Nadym Gas Pipeline Junction, located 1,500 miles northeast of Moscow in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug administrative region, is described cables as the most “critical facility in the world,” with a supply that is depleting with an eye on one final endeavor to keep Russia afloat.
Iran’s Influence in Uttar Pradesh, India: A cable detailing the extent of Iran’s influence on Uttar Pradesh during the heavy attacks in Gaza and Lebonon, was unearthed by the New York Times in the wake of explosions in New Delhi and Bangkok. Two prominent Muslims in Uttar Pradesh allege Iran was funding political rallies and propaganda in the state. “Muslim emotions were being fired-up by a steady stream of propaganda from the Urdu press,” Qari Mian Mazari, a leading Maulvi politician from the moderate Barelvi school stated.
Oil deals with Uganda: President Yoweri Museveni has previously had to defend himself publicly against allegations that he took bribe from oil deals after it surfaced from a statement an American ambassador made in WikiLeaks cables.
- British government supported making the Chagos Archipelago into a marine reserve so natives would never return
- 2009 cable suggested the Pope was shielded from dissenting views
- 2008: Ambassador Michael Ranneberger to Kenya told by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka that President Kibaki agreed to support him in the 2012 General Election